Family Leadership in Times of Crisis provides readers with the skills and tools they will need to build a strong family foundation. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?
The inspiration to begin the process of writing this book was unique. I did not plan to write and publish a book in 2020 until something special happened. Christian Family in Action, a group that is dedicated to equipping families with skills to build and maintain loving relationships, refused to bow down before the fear of COVID-19. Under the leadership of Venet Smith, the president of the group, CFA bravely decided to organize a much-needed family retreat with seventy-seven loving people at a beautiful resort in Orlando, Florida, from June 26–30. They graciously chose me to be their guest speaker. We spent time together bonding and reflecting on family leadership in times of crisis. God moved greatly and touched our hearts to become better husbands/fathers and wives/mothers using the new skills learned to foster a loving environment for our children to become responsible adults.
It was during this special moment that Venet Smith felt prompted by God to encourage me to write this book. His encouragement was like a drop of blood into the veins of my body. My mind began to conceptualize the contents of the book immediately. I took his remarks to heart and asked God to help me get the job done. Fast forward three weeks later, and the book was written. This book was meant to be.
What is a common misconception you feel people have about building a strong family?
In my practice as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and a pastor, a common misconception that I notice some people have about building a strong family is the disbelief that building a strong family is not possible because of current sociocultural norms about marriage and family. They look at how society defines family, its structure, and functioning and they feel disempowered. They think that the negative influences of culture and social media make it hard to build a strong family. As a result, they become discouraged to even try to build a strong family. However, once they turn to the biblical pattern of marriage and family as revealed in Genesis 1-2 by God at creation, this instills hope in them believing that they can build a strong family with God on their side. Consequently, they begin to have a strong desire to learn and apply biblical principles and counseling skills to build and maintain a resilient, spiritual, and loving family.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
Some of the themes that were important for me to explore and develop in my book were establishing the right family structure, family identity, family leadership hierarchy, family crisis interventions skills, and Jesus Christ.
What is the first step someone can take to start developing their family leadership skills?
The first step someone can take to start developing their family leadership skills is to know and acknowledge their spiritual identity. This is fundamental because someone’s spiritual identity shapes their beliefs and values. Then, their belief system and value determine how they think, feel, and behave. For example, God wants me to form my beliefs and values based on who Jesus Christ is and his teachings. Jesus is the perfect example to model one’s family leadership skills. Jesus commended his followers to follow him (Matthew 16:24). Jesus’ style of leadership has at least five components: believing in people, providing positive and corrective feedback to people, motivating people, modeling for people to know the” How to” of leadership, and empowering people to lead.
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If you can imagine it, Krystal has experienced it. If you’ve ever wondered what an abusive relationship truly feels like, Krystal can tell you. If you’re curious as to what a true survivor looks like, take a good long look at Krystal–her life is a testament of dedication, overcoming the worst of the worst in relationships, and learning from one’s mistakes. When Krystal finds Pete, she believes she has found forever. She could never have foreseen that the world into which she would bring her children would be one in which their father would make their lives a living hell.
Krystal Kolnik’s Lessons From Frogs I’ve Kissed is one of the most heart-wrenching stories of love and loss I have ever read. The strength it takes Krystal to simply live from day to day in the presence of such a dismissive and disloyal husband is completely stunning. As I read page after page filled with descriptions of her husband’s indiscretions and manic outbursts, my heart ached and I was filled with a rage of my own.
Krystal’s willingness to open her heart and spill her experiences for the world to read is beyond admirable. More than that, her story resonates with both men and women across the globe. Abusive relationships of one type or another are, sadly, a common occurrence. Readers who are desperately seeking validation will see themselves mirrored in the way Krystal is drawn back to Pete time and time again as his hollow promises are broken one after another–so goes the life of a victim of domestic abuse.
From Krystal’s own struggle to believe or not to believe Pete to her family and friends’ choice to conceal their own knowledge of Pete’s ongoing affairs, the author details each and every crushing blow before calmly describing the ease with which Pete is able to slide from his duties as a father and husband into the life he prefers as a sleazy cheater and abusive sociopath. Without having to present him as an actual character, Krystal succeeds in giving readers an antagonist worthy of all the hatred they can muster.
Krystal details the day-to-day struggles of being a single parent wanting to date in today’s world. Her descriptions of her young daughter’s vision of her father are almost too much to bear. Her recollections of his tantrums and abuse make my stomach turn. Krystal and her children have lived through more than their share of hard days and deserve all the good times life now has to offer.
Relationship after relationship, Krystal lays it all out on the line and goes for broke. Time after time, she is met with adversity. She does a wonderful job of making readers feel her pain and frustration–her descriptions of online dating are relatable in every way.
This is easily one of the most engaging stories I have read in years. Krystal’s mistakes become her lessons and, in turn, become the reader’s as well. Were it not for authors like Krystal, many of us would continue to feel alone in our frustration and misery. Krystal opens the door for communication. For that, I am grateful.
Pages: 342 | ASIN: B07NP6FNXC
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Lost in the Reflecting Pool is a candid retelling of your life and the many trials you faced throughout. Why was this an important book for you to write?
It was an important book for me to write Lost in the Reflecting Pool for several reasons. On a personal level, writing was a way for me to process some very difficult, and traumatic times in my life. The act of writing itself, allowed me to gain enough distance and perspective to gain understanding that I don’t think I would have otherwise gained.
Equally important, my book covers many issues that are of particular relevance to women and men in terms of toxic relationships, narcissism, trusting the red flags that one sees early on in relationships and I think that it is important that these are important issues for the general population to be aware of as they enter into relationships.
You wrote about a relationship with a man that you struggled to break free of; what is one piece of advice you wish you had at the beginning?
Trust what I saw – and to not ignore what I saw.
The book is a memoir about many difficult things in your life, but the story is ultimately uplifting. What do you hope readers take away from your book?
I hope that people will take away from my story that it is possible to change to course of one’s life even when things feel as if there is no way out – things can get better. Developing a support system is essential. When in a toxic relationship make sure that one does not allow oneself to become isolated from all other supports (friends and family).
What is the next book that you are writing and when will it be available?
I am currently working on a psychological thriller, Call Me Angel which should be available late 2020 and I am working on two children’s books.
When Diane, a psychologist, falls in love with Charles, a charming and brilliant psychiatrist, there is laughter and flowers—and also darkness. After moving through infertility treatments and the trials of the adoption process as a united front, the couple is ultimately successful in creating a family. As time goes on, however, Charles becomes increasingly critical and controlling, and Diane begins to feel barraged and battered. When she is diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer, Charles is initially there for her, but his attentiveness quickly vanishes and is replaced by withdrawal, anger, and unfathomable sadism. What Diane previously thought were just Charles’ controlling ways are replaced by clear pathologic narcissism and emotional abuse that turns venomous at the very hour of her greatest need.
A memoir and a psychological love story that is at times tender and at times horrifying, Lost in the Reflecting Pool is a chronicle of one woman’s struggle to survive within—and ultimately break free of—a relationship with a man incapable of caring about anyone beyond himself.
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This physiological thriller is amusing and engaging right from the start. Act one introduces us to the characters, all of which I found interesting but one more particularly so was Purvel Schlignatz. He’s a graduate student who is focused and open-minded, but gets convinced to do things that he sometimes does not subscribe to and I was not comfortable with the influence that Pelvin Penisovich had on him.
The drama and romance blended easily and were equally entertaining. I loved how Purvel Chlignatz was ready to risk everything just to be with Kitty Walters. I closely followed the drama that led to Pelvin Penisovich and Dronah Stackbut’s break up and learned a few things about friendship along the way. The romantic themes explore how pals and lovers sometimes get betrayed, and the result is anger that could be destructive.
Dolly Gray Landon’s story is exciting if not interesting and filled with characters with quirky names having engaging conversations. Melody wasn’t a favorite for me, but not for a lack of character development, quite the opposite. Her attitude and lack of empathy made me dislike her character. She was full of herself and abused the influence she had. I, however, appreciate that the author made her one of the main characters, as her role added more spice in the book. I also got to learn a few new words, as the jargon used by the Stool candidates was compelling. ‘Nadaism’ is one of the words I found to be amusing throughout the book.
Everything from the plot, literary stylistic devices used, character and writing style were excellent. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading plays and wants to enjoy a good story. Keep a dictionary handy as this story will surely increase your vocabulary.
Wealth, power, the socialite life, education, relationships, and peer influence are some of the themes covered in the book. The author’s sense of humor is subtly apparent throughout and serves to deliver a larger satirical story that kept me laughing, entertained, and quickly flipping pages.
Pages: 306 | ASIN: B07P3L7C7R
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As a reader of Robert Crown’s Suffering Ends When Awakening Begins, from the moment I started reading to closing the book, I was completely hooked. The mix of of suspense and the unknown along with themes of death, betrayal, and loyalty is a great example of the new age and spirtuality genre. Crown does an amazing job at writing this inspiring true story whilst still inflicting a sense of uncertainty and eeriness to his readers.
Suffering Ends When Awakening Begins is based on a true story about childhood and growing up. A book complete with struggle, hardship, journies, and belonging. Robert Crown attempts to captivate his readers by using a dark childhood to demonstrate the importance of positivity and embracing the future.
What really enticed me whilst reading this book is the narration. The first person narration created that extra appeal. Reading an account of a person’s life really puts things into perspective for me. I love this idea that you can really learn from someone else’s life experiences, no matter how far away they are from your own.
For me, the book acts as a great reminder that no matter what you face in life, you will be able to conquer anything you set your mind to. No matter the hardship, no matter the isolation, no matter the fear, everyone has a tough interior – they just need to find it and use it!
Although Suffering Ends When Awakening Begins provides an epic depiction of the author’s challenges in life, we are also subject to a particular thought process. As I was reading I was constantly thinking to myself: if he could overcome these tragic moments in life, then so can I. This book left me feeling a sense of positivity. Although I have no idea what the author’s events could possibly have felt like, I felt as though my own struggles in life really help you to connect to the author and to the narrative.
The writing is clear and focused, which has a heavy focus on descriptions and impact. The writing provides a clear account of how one’s life can be instantly turned upside down. The writing assumes that, despite the rollercoaster ride of events, you can still come out of it a much stronger, happier person. This is something I think that everyone longs for, isn’t it? And reading this book is a great demonstration of just that!
Suffering Ends When Awakening Begins was by far one of the best books I have read for a long time. It has everything – originality, a clear thought process, a personal touch. For this reason, and all of the above, I would like to award this book an extremely deserving 5 out of 5 stars. I could immerse myself in the events of the book, and despite not actually going through these events myself, I felt as though the author described them to the point that I felt as though they were real and emotional.
I have very little negative points to say in regards to the book. The writer expertly conveys themes of betrayal, relationships, past vs. future and childhood. An emotive, beautiful piece of personal writing brought to you by Robert Crown. A fantastic read for anyone who enjoys themes including life experiences, childhood, longing, journeying on, and betrayal. This book is bound to get your heart racing whilst putting you on the edge of your seat!
Pages: 290 | ASIN: B077DWRSK5
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Dare to Be the Change, written by Annella Metoyer, tells the story of Annella’s life and how she overcame adversities to be the change she wished to see in the world. Annella faces a world of segregation and judgement based on the color of her skin, but is determined to push through the racism and have people see her for who she truly is. This begins a world of firsts for Annella, from being the first colored cheerleader to the first woman of color to work in her local bank. Her life journey will inspire, and enlighten you as you learn what it takes to make a difference in the world.
Growing up in a small town of Louisiana, Annella lives in a time where racism was prevalent in the community. With society segregating everyone into two groups of “colored” and “white”, Annella struggles with her identity. This segregation continues throughout all of her schooling years; however, it was several teachers and adults in her life that showed her that she didn’t need to accept the injustice and inequality that society expected her to endure.
I admired the relationship Annella had with her parents and in particular the strength and support her father showed her throughout her life. Rather than allowing racism to control their lives, he would take a stance and voice his concerns about the unfairness of how children were treated due to the colour of their skin. He was also the instigator of her career as the first woman of color at a bank, forming the pathways of her strength and persistence for change.
Dare to Be the Change enlightens the reader with racial situations or expectations that show an unfair and unjust part of our history. Conditions such as separate school buses or being unable to enter a cafe through the front door if you were colored seem like a preposterous idea, but sadly they were the real-life situations that people had to endure every day.
Throughout the story, you can tell the author Annella Metoyer radiates a certain positivity and gratitude that I believe led her to achieve so many significant changes. There are times where she could have relished in the negativity, but instead, she talks about the positive people in her life that helped her grow and become more confident as a woman. Annella’s endurance and strength to stand up for what is right is a trait to be admired and one that we don’t often see in the world. Annella’s hard work ethic and ability to prove herself in her career is just one way she initiates change as she begins to show others that there is more to a person than the color of their skin.
I would recommend this to anyone looking for an inspirational story that will motivate you to be the change you wish to see in the world.
Pages: 91 | ASIN: B079QM5MNC
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The LGBTQ Meditation Journal offers contemplative spiritual adventures to enhance confidence and tranquility. Why was this an important book for you to write?
Your question necessitates a brief history of the Meditation Journal genesis.
Mary Sheldon originated The Meditation Journal concept, back in the mid-1990s. By the end of that decade, three highly successful books of guided meditations had been published, namely, The Meditation Journal, Meditations for the Twenty-first Century, and Meditations on Relationships.
Our first three volumes flew out of Costco and Target stores nationwide, as well as traditional bookstores. We were surprised by their immediate success. For a while, we considered a fourth volume, Meditations for Teenagers, but for various reasons, the book never happened.
Five years ago, Christopher signed on with Laura Baumbach’s MLR Press, a publisher of primarily LGBTQ fiction, and he has subsequently written three novels and four short stories for the Press.
Ever since becoming an MLR Press author, I have thought about an LGBTQ Meditation Journal. In the summer of 2016, at Mary Sheldon’s housewarming party, I asked my non-LGBTQ co-author, if she would write it with me. She said, “Yes!” and soon thereafter, I pitched the book to Laura Baumbach. The publisher greenlighted the project and then blessed us with her amazing Executive Editor, Kris Jacen, as our editor.
When trying to improve any area of our lives, Mary Sheldon and I turn to the real and eternal, namely the spiritual, rather than to the erroneous and temporal, to wit, the material. So, for the both of us, it is organic to improve all of the conditions of our lives with the metaphysical discipline of meditation.
So, it follows that it was important for us to help others help themselves by using the same spiritual approach that we use effectively in our own lives.
But even though the LGBTQ Community was our focus, we were determined to write guided meditation adventures that could benefit everyone, LGBTQ, or not.
I felt that there was a focus on self-love and acceptance in this book. What were some themes you tried to capture while writing?
Yes, self-acceptance and self-love are essentials for healthy, successful living. We both believe that everything made by the Creator originated spiritually and perfectly. And so, Christopher and I ask readers to employ a spiritual perspective when using our meditation adventures. We ask everyone to think of themselves as the perfect, spiritually-created, externalized ideas of the Creator’s making, and not as the flawed material beings reflected in the mirror. Our point of view reflects Divine Science rather than Earth’s limited material sciences.
And, regardless of the current conditions in their lives, we want everyone to know they have value and worth; quite simply, they matter.
After reading this book I felt that my open-mindedness of the world was reinforced. What do you hope readers take away from this book?
We hope readers will open their minds and hearts, and come to an understanding that self-acceptance, love, peace, pride, and dignity are essential. And we want them to know that if these qualities are now in short supply, our guided meditation adventures are one excellent method of enhancing them.
What is the next book that you are writing and when will it be available?
Christopher and I would like to write The Children’s Meditation Journal.
Of course, winning a contract for such a book is largely contingent on the current book being successful.
Right now, Christopher is in edits with the second volume in his series of Minnow Saint James Metaphysical Adventures novels. It is named The Coming of Beth, and it will be MLR Press published in the first half of next year.
For the fourth in their highly successful series of guided meditations books, Christopher Stone and Mary Sheldon focus upon the LGBTQ Community, offering a month’s worth of contemplative spiritual adventures to enhance confidence and tranquility while inspiring self-acceptance, love, peace, pride, and dignity. Edited by Kris Jacen, the book explains the process of focused attention known as meditation and it offers a simple relaxation technique to induce a meditative state of mind.
Editor’s Note for eBook readers: For those that do look at page counts between print and ebook files, there is a big discrepancy between the print and ebook editions of this journal in PDF format. Don’t worry, you are not missing any content. The difference is that the print version of the book contains space to note several months observations for each meditation.
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